Displaying items by tag: desserts

Sue Devor – Gail’s honorary aunt – is an extraordinary baker. During Gail’s childhood, Sue would make her favourite decadent chocolate meringue cookies every Passover. Today, no Passover is complete in Gail’s home without them. These addictive cookies are a little crispy on the outside with a gooey, chewy chocolate centre.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ready in: 35 minutes

Makes: 3 dozen



4 egg whites

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips, melted, plus extra 1/4 cup to stir in

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional



Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites, salt, lemon juice and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until foamy. Slowly add sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in melted chocolate by hand, being careful to keep the whites as fluffy as possible, then fold in extra chocolate chips (and nuts if desired).

Scoop the batter into a pastry bag or large resealable plastic bag. Snip off a bottom corner of the plastic bag, making sure the hole is big enough to allow the chips through. Immediately pipe batter onto prepared baking sheets to form cookies about 2 inches in diameter.

Bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool 5 to 8 minutes before removing from baking sheets.



One is hard-pressed to find much in the way of good kosher dessert wines in Canada, which is a shame. This recipes deserve something more regal than the old Passover standby, Manischewitz, unless you harbour a nostalgic affection for the grapey elixir in the square bottle. Let me offer a few hard-to-find selections, some only moderately sweet, that could work. From Italy: Bartenura Malvasia; Bartenura Asti; Borgo Reale Malvasia Frizzante; Les Floreales Moscato; Sara Bee Moscato; and Sentieri Ebraici. From Austria: Hafner Gewurztraminer Icewine and Hafner Neusiedler. -Beppi Crosariol

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 You can substitute store-bought puff pastry if necessary. I used hothouse rhubarb, which is sweeter than rhubarb grown outdoors, so adjust sugar level accordingly.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ready in: 4 hours, including chilling

Serves: 8




250 g (8 oz) rhubarb

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water


1 1/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

3 tablespoons ice-cold water

1 teaspoon vinegar


2 large eggs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup 35-per-cent cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour



Preheat oven to 300F. Cut rhubarb to fit into an eight-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with sugar and add water. Cover with foil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender. Cool completely. Cut rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces and reserve. Reduce liquid in a pot on high heat until syrupy, about 2 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 400 F.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter in food processor. Pulse until butter is pea-sized. Remove mixture from food processor into a bowl. Stir in water and vinegar, mixing until dough holds together in a ball. You may need a little less or more water.

Flatten ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes. Roll out pastry on a well-floured surface to fit a nine-inch tart ring. Chill for 1 hour.

Place parchment paper over pastry and cover with dried beans. Bake 20 minutes, remove weights and bake another 10 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Mix all custard ingredients in a bowl with an immersion blender, or whisk together eggs, butter, cream and vanilla, then whisk into brown sugar and flour.

Lay rhubarb on tart base and pour custard over. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, or until tart is no longer runny in the centre. Allow to cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Drizzle with reduced rhubarb syrup before serving.

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When I dined at the French critical favourite Le Chateaubriand in Paris, one of Restaurant magazine’s 50 best restaurants in the world, I had a phenomenal dessert that looked like a fried egg but was, in fact, a caramelized egg yolk sitting on a bed of crushed-nut meringue. The taste was sublime and I wanted to re-create it. Chef and owner Inaki Aizpitarte told me his recipe is a version of tocino de cielo , a dessert from southern Spain that was originally created by nuns who were given leftover egg yolks by wineries, which used the whites for clarification. Mixed with sugar syrup and baked, these incredibly rich, luscious bites evoke crème caramel. This adaptation of his recipe consists of an egg-caramel custard perched on a meringue base.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ready in: 4 hours

Serves: 4




2 egg whites

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice



1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon corn syrup



1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

2 2-inch pieces lemon rind

6 egg yolks



Preheat oven to 275 F (140 C).

Beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until frothy. Slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar, continuing to beat until egg whites are very thick (about 3 to 4 minutes). Beat in lemon juice. Spoon mixture into four mounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using the back of the spoon, form into 5-inch rounds, leaving an indentation in the centre (large enough to fit the egg yolk custard). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until crisp and creamy-coloured. Remove meringues from oven and cool.

Boil 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of sugar and corn syrup in a heavy pot until golden (about 6 minutes). Pour caramel into four ramekins and swirl each until base is coated.

Increase oven temperature to 350 F (180 C). Combine 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of sugar and lemon rind in a heavy pot. Bring to boil over medium heat. Cook until thread stage (225 F or 110 C on the sugar thermometer). Remove from heat and discard lemon rind. Set aside. Beat egg yolks with a whisk and slowly whisk in warm syrup until combined.

Divide egg mixture among the ramekins. Place ramekins in a pan large enough to hold them in one layer. Pour boiling water into the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and bake 20 minutes or until the mixture has set. Remove from oven, carefully taking ramekins out of the hot-water bath. Cool on a rack. Run a sharp knife around the inside of the ramekin to loosen the custard.

Dip ramekins into boiling water to loosen the caramel and turn out onto a meringue base. It will look like a fried egg.

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Craggy and dark, these are one of the best brownie-like bars I have made.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ready in: 50 minutes

Makes: 16 to 20 bars



250 grams (8 ounces) 64- to 70-per-cent dark chocolate, chopped 

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup black-currant jam



Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate in a heavy pot over low heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

Cream butter with sugar until fluffy and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time until fully combined. Beat in flour and salt. Stir in vanilla and melted chocolate.

Pour into pan and level off batter. Place 16 dollops of jam on top of batter. Run a sharp knife through the batter to swirl in the jam.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted into brownie comes out with a few crumbs attached. The centre should be slightly underdone. Cool in pan on a rack.

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This is an almost instant recipe to have waiting for your valentine. Pipe a little whipped cream heart on top.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 2 hours 30 minutes, including chilling

Serves: 2



1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

50 grams (2 ounces) chopped dark chocolate

2 tablespoons chopped dried cherries



Bring cream, butter and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon rind and chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted. Let cool in pot for 15 minutes. Stir in cherries, reserving a couple for garnish. Pour into two wine glasses. Chill until set, about 2 hours.



This dessert would sing with a crimson-coloured, berry-laced cabernet franc icewine. - Beppi Crosariol

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These are similar to making a warm chocolate cake, but refrigerate them overnight before popping them into the oven. It helps take some stress out of preparing the whole menu at once. Ramekins come in many different sizes, so you may find you have enough batter for six. The leftovers are great cold.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 30 minutes without refrigeration

Serves: 4 to 6




4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

6 egg whites

Pinch of salt


Orange cream:

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur



Butter and sugar four one-cup, ceramic ramekins.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy pot over low heat. Cool slightly and mix in egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until they’re thick and hold soft peaks.

Stir one cup egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in remaining whites. Divide batter between ramekins and refrigerate until needed.

Whip cream with sugar, orange rind and liqueur. Refrigerate until serving time.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place soufflés on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until tops have risen and are cracked, but still slightly liquidy in the middle. Remove from oven. Serve immediately topped with whipped cream.

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For people who like their treats less sweet, this jewel-like spiced cake fills the bill. It keeps a week refrigerated.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ready in: 1 hour 20 minutes plus cooling time

Serves: 6 with leftovers 




2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed

2 ½ cups fresh cranberries



½ cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground star anise, optional

2/3 cup milk



Preheat oven to 375 F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.

Spread butter on base of pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pat down firmly. Spread cranberries over sugar.

For cake:

Beat butter and granulated sugar together with an electric mixer about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ginger and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and star anise. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then beat in half the milk. Repeat, finishing with dry ingredients.

Spread batter over cranberry base. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until top is deep brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes on cooling rack. Run a knife around sides of pan to release. Invert onto a serving platter. Let cool fully. 

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Yule log is a memorable dessert for the holiday table, but forget the heavy chocolate kind; this lighter, more stylish one has a nut meringue and a mascarpone and passion-fruit filling. The nuts in the meringue are interchangeable, so although this is made with almonds, you could use hazelnuts or walnuts, if you prefer. The rich filling is mellowed by the brightness of the passion fruit and the tartness of the lime zest. You can surround it with Christmas decorations to make it look festive or sift icing sugar over both the tray and the dessert for a falling-snow effect.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Ready in: 90 minutes

Serves: 8 - 10




2 cups sliced or slivered almonds, skin on

8 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon cornstarch Icing sugar for dusting



1 1/2 cups mascarpone

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup passion-fruit pulp (from two large or four small passion fruits)

2 tablespoons lime juice



Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the meringue:

Toast almonds on a baking sheet in the oven until golden brown, about 6 min. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Line a 15-inch-by-11-inch jelly-roll sheet with parchment paper overhanging the edges.

Reduce oven temperature to 275 F. Place egg whites and salt in a large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually beat in 1 cup of sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer until thick and glossy, about 10 minutes. Beat in vinegar. Reserve.

Whirl the almonds with cornstarch and 1/2 cup of sugar In a food processor until the nuts are ground. Fold into the egg-white mixture. Scoop the mixture onto the parchment paper and smooth into each corner. Level top.

Bake until lightly golden but still slightly soft, about 1 hour.

Turn out the meringue onto a tea towel dusted with icing sugar. Cool a little, then gently remove parchment paper. Cover with another tea towel and let cool to room temperature.

For the filling:

Beat mascarpone with sugar and lime zest in a medium bowl until fluffy, about 1 minute. Whip cream in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Fold cream into the mascarpone mixture along with the passion-fruit pulp.

Remove the top tea towel from the roll. Spread mascarpone mixture evenly over meringue.

Grasp the long ends of the tea towel and roll up like a jelly roll.

Decorate as desired. Cut in slices to serve.

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I love doughnuts but never realized how easy they are to make.

The deep-fried treats are having a moment, with gourmet doughnut shops popping up and flavours ranging from sugary sweet to decadently savoury.

Hanukkah starts on Saturday, and one of the holiday’s special foods is rich, jam-filled doughnuts, so I decided to make a batch.

In my research I came across the best doughnuts ever at Toronto’s Café Fiorentina. Tina Leckie and Alex Chong have created a charming space where all the food is made from scratch, including Alex’s superb charcuterie and bread. Tina bakes cakes and cookies and makes memorable sandwiches and lunch-type dishes.

Tina gave me her recipe for doughnuts, though if you don’t feel like making them yourself, give her a call and she’ll make them for you.

Basically, great yeast doughnuts start with a brioche dough. Cake doughnuts (not my favourites) are made with a thick cake batter. A few caveats on deep frying: Use a wok with a wok ring or a deep pot.

If you fry at the right temperature, oil won’t be absorbed and your treats won’t be greasy.

If you don’t have a stand mixer use a hand-held mixer, but you will be beating for about 15 to 20 minutes to get the right consistency. Shape leftover dough into a loaf and bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes for brioche.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Ready in: 2 hours 30 minutes, including 1.5 hours proofing

Makes: roughly 18




1 cup milk

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (11 g, or 11 g fresh yeast, which doesn’t require activation)

4 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 grams) sugar

2 teaspoons (11 grams) salt

3 eggs

10 tablespoons(150 grams) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar for coating

Vegetable oil for deep frying



Any jam makes a good filling – raspberry is a particular favourite. Some other options:


Buy lemon curd and mix with ½ cup whipped cream.

Plum and balsamic:

Heat together 1 cup plum jam and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Cool before piping into doughnuts.



Warm 2 tbsp milk in a small pot. Stir in yeast until dissolved to activate.

Combine flour with sugar, salt, eggs, remaining milk and yeast mixture in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl and repeat. Reduce speed to medium-low and add butter, 2 tbsp at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated after each addition. Stop mixer frequently and scrape the bowl down to help dough absorb the butter better. Once all the butter is mixed in, increase speed to medium-high and beat for 4 minutes. Scrape down bowl and repeat. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl and be soft and slightly sticky.

Scrape dough into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured board and punch down to flatten. Sprinkle the top with flour. Roll out to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut out rounds and place on a floured surface. You will have roughly 18. Cover rounds loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

Heat enough oil to reach a 2-inch depth in a medium pot or wok over medium heat until the temperature reaches 320F. (To test if the temperature is right, drop a piece of bread in the oil – it should turn golden brown in 40 seconds.)

Drop rounds of dough into the pan and fry in batches, turning often, until doughnuts are golden on each side – about 2 minutes.

Pour sugar onto a plate. Roll warm doughnuts in sugar then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool before filling.

Place jam into a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized tip (No. 4). Push the tip about an inch into the doughnut and pipe in jam until filled.

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Cassata is a Sicilian cake full of dried fruit and nuts. This full-flavoured version not only looks outstanding, but is much easier to make.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 3 hours, including chill time

Serves: 4 to 6




¼ cup finely chopped candied orange peel

¼ cup orange liqueur

2 cups ricotta

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons chopped preserved candied ginge

½ cup chopped almonds

½ cup bittersweet chocolate,chopped



¼ cup grated bittersweet chocolate

1 tablespoon coffee

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 pieces candied orange peel



Soak chopped orange peel in liqueur for 30 minutes.

Beat ricotta until smooth. Beat in sugar and whipping cream. Fold in peel, liqueur, ginger, almonds and chopped chocolate. Chill.

Melt chocolate and cold coffee on low heat in a heavy pot. Remove from heat. Beat in butter. Cool until slightly thickened but still thin enough to pour. Swirl into ricotta. Spoon into parfait glasses. Top with a piece of candied orange peel. Chill until thickened, about 2 hours. 

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